Historic Markers Across Florida

City's First Fire Engine / Chief James A. Hancock Jr. Building

Marker ID:  
Location: 100 Ariana Avenue, Auburndale, FL
County: Polk
Coordinates: N 28° 04.056    W 081° 47.567
  28.0676    -81.79278333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMN60T


City's First Fire Engine
Chief James A. Hancock Jr. Building

This 1925 American LaFrance fire engine with its polished wooden bed and steering wheel, rare Italian tires and black leather seat was delivered to the City of Auburndale on June 23, 1925 via freight train. The City's first fire engine stayed in service until 1953. In the 1930's volunteer firefighter Nephi Darby gave the truck its nickname "Grandma" as he worked hard to keep it running and clean. The truck was restored in 1979 and was put on display in the Public Library on West Park Street. The truck was restored a second time after an arson fire in the library in 1982. In 1992, the truck was relocated alongside the Fire Station on Orange Street.
In 2001 the Fire Department moved to this location and the historic engine was moved into this building named in honor of Chief James A. Hancock, Jr. Chief Hancock worked for the City of Auburndale from 1951-1991 and served as Chief from February 20, 1956 until his retirement. He was named Outstanding Fire Chief in 1981 by the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association. His public service tenure remains one of the longest in the City's history.

City of Auburndale, Auburndale Historic Preservation Commission